Today, I got my heart broken. For the nth time. And the mutterings of the people around me as they excitedly wait to have a bite of those eye candy donuts that have suddenly lost their charm on me didn’t matter. My memory was in a race trying to remember the best conversations I had with T and the long walks we shared one summer. But I realized there was no more point in doing that. It’s going to be a long night.
When I was younger, my initial reaction when faced with the pains of a broken heart was to escape – run away somewhere I can try to forget all the bittersweet things that go with break ups. I would run to the nearest beach, and sometimes head to the farthest one if the budget permitted, and would drown myself in loud music and endless partying. I would hop on whatever bus that was available and just be spontaneous, letting my feet take me wherever they fancy.
One time, I found myself riding the city train for almost three hours, allowing myself to be busy as I listen to deafening conversations around me. All aware of their destinations, the passengers in front of me had come and gone. While I was there, holding mightily to my bag – that lone empty passenger staring at their blank faces.
I had my shares of running away – those momentary bliss of forgetting and remembering. Eventually, I got the idea that running away did not solve my heartaches. I started to cling to my emotions.
Broken hearted people never go away. They stay put. I’ve had so many heart breaks before to understand that I can’t just skyrocket myself to the moon and come back to where it all started and pretend like my heart has not been subjected to pinpricked kind of hurting.
Running away temporarily eases the burden, but never heals the pain that goes with the fact that someone has decided to move on while you find yourself seeking solitude in the world’s saddest sunset.
Baguio, my pain-in-the-ass transient place, taught me that. There’s something about Baguio that endears it to people whose hearts need to recuperate from bad break ups. Funny, but most of the people I know in Baguio who have found solace in this nippy mountain city, had a broken heart to mend when they decided to move to the city.
I had my first “mature” heartache in Baguio, you know, the kind that changes your life forever. I was a wandering soul when I decided to visit my friend in Baguio in 2005. I had just resigned from a very promising work and couldn’t exactly identify the career that would really satisfy me, I figured Baguio was the perfect escape.
And then I met A. I guess it’s safe to assume that sparks flew when our eyes met. We dated and momentarily nurtured a tryst that would put Parisian lovers out on a sweet walk on a dimly lit alley to shame. Until A became cold. I never existed anymore.
My heart was broken to pieces, so much so, that I went back to Baguio five days after I left it. I was on my way to this mountain city not for a holiday but to confront the pain that had haunted me on so many sleepless nights. Baguio, with its cold weather, dramatic nightscape and melancholic vibe, offered the ideal solace for my weary soul. The city has a numbing effect that was perfect for the masochist in me, moving on was within my reach.
Session Road, despite or maybe because of its busyness, became attractive to me. I would spend the night at Pizza Volante with friends who understood what I was going through, as we stuffed ourselves with slices of pizza and unlimited cups of coffee. We would hang out in the street when only the bravest of all did not mind the biting coldness of the dark night. This we did after spoiling ourselves with cones upon cones of inexpensive ice cream from Session Delights.
When I found myself missing A, I would go to David’s Tea House and order Chona’s Delight, which reminded me of A. At times when the pain became recurrent and unbearable, I would ask my friends to buy some beer from Mom and Pop and then we’ll drive along Loakan Road until we find a good spot for a quick drinking rendezvous.
The city’s mysterious and striking character, which is highlighted when the city is covered with fog during the blue hour, helped me piece my life back. It has taught me a valuable lesson: to stay where I got wounded and feel the struggle until the pain becomes bearable, and forgettable.
It is not coincidental then that I will be flying to Donsol tomorrow, where I met T some months back. Donsol is home to me and yet, even if I know it like the palm of my hand, I know it won’t be easy going home this time.
The halo-halo corner where I first saw T will not be up yet at this time of the year. The shade under the big mango tree where we would spend lazy afternoons just talking about anything and everything will be swarmed with school kids, it is almost impossible to enjoy my own corner there.
And while I know it’s going to crush my heart, I will bike around town and towards the river bank, where T held my hand for the first time as we waited for the sun to rest.
Broken hearts stay where they are wounded. And they grow. And love again.
*This post is my first entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers’ Blog Carnival. The theme for February is “Where do broken hearts go?” Rain Amantiad-Campanilla of RakistangNars hosts this edition of the blog carnival.